The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore
Wow, this book was so much better than I expected. I love when historical fiction teaches me something new in an interesting and fast-paced manner. I vaguely knew about the War of Currents between Edison and Westinghouse, but this book really transported me to that time period. It is narrated by Paul Carvath, Westinghouse's young lawyer, who was at the very center of the war. It was fascinating to read everything Edison did to convince the public that direct current was better than alternating current. If you love historical fiction, this one is a great read!
Erin's Book Challenge: A book with a homonym in the title
My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
Confession: I don't think I've ever read a Sophie Kinsella book. I thought I had, but I just looked through my GoodReads list and saw I've never reviewed one. After reading this book, I can see why people like to read Sophie Kinsella so much. The book started off slow (Katie doesn't get fired until 30 percent into the book. This isn't a spoiler since it says it happens in the book description), but it gets so much better. I loved Katie, Demeter, and Alex. This is a good, cozy read by the fire kind of read. If you like women's fiction, I would highly recommend it!
Erin's Book Challenge: A book with a mostly green cover
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
This is a short but poignant book I read practically in one sitting. The Truth About Alice really showcased how awful bullying can be and what kids/teenagers put each other through on a daily basis. The only thing that did bother me is the four narrators. I think two of the narrators were really unnecessary, and the author should have really stuck with one or two.
Erin's Book Challenge: A book set in your city/town/state
We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley
This book started out slow. By slow I mean the conflict didn't occur until 80 percent into the book. Then, as soon as it started, it was obvious what was going to happen. I did like the ending of the book, which moved it up to three stars for me.
Erin's Book Challenge: A book that starts with a "W"
American Heiress by Jeffery Toobin
I've always been fascinated by the Hearst family, especially William Randolph Hearst, Patty's grandfather, but I didn't know much about the kidnapping of Patty Hearst. Toobin's account was fascinating, though I did feel bogged down by all the details a few times. Overall, it is an interesting book for those curious to learn more about Patty Hearst and her time with the SLA.
Erin's Book Challenge: A book from a genre you rarely read
The Undesirables by Chad Thumann
I usually don't read books set in Russia for reasons I won't get into in the review (I'm happy to answer if you message me, though), but this story made me curious enough to give it a try. I didn't love the writing, and I did think there were too many narrators, but the story sucked me in. The first 10 percent was a little slow, but once it got going, I didn't want to stop reading it. Overall, I thought it was an interesting (and fair) overview of what World War II was like for Russians in Leningrad and soldiers fighting the Eastern Front.
Erin's Book Challenge: Freebie that's at least 200 pages long.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
This is a beautiful story that really speaks to the power of music in our lives. Patchett turns a horrifying event of a hostage crisis into a story of love and forgiveness. The only reason it's not five stars for me is it felt a little slow at times (though I think it was intentional), and I didn't love the ending.
Erin's Book Challenge: A "Rory Gilmore" book (A book read by Rory in an episode of Gilmore Girls)
Always by Sarah Jio
I have liked a lot of Sarah Jio's books, but this one is truly a mess. The writing isn't great, and much of the dialogue is extremely awkward. Several of the facts don't add up, and there are plot holes. (Don't even get me started on "She was a medical student in her surgical residency. Ugh)." I think what Sarah Jio wrote in the acknowledgements explains why this book was so much worse than others, but her editor should have really stepped up and made sure the major issues were fixed. I'm sad this happened because I have really enjoyed some of her earlier books.
Erin's Book Challenge: A book by a favorite author
Damaged by Lisa Scottoline
This book is what is classified as a "legal thriller" and honestly I'm not sure how I feel about the genre. Damaged is the fourth book in the Rosato & DiNunzio series, but it reads like a stand alone novel. Honestly, it was just super depressing to me. I did like Mary DiNunzio, but I thought the story was a bit slow at times. That said, I would be interested in reading the next book in the series.
The Girl in the Garden by Melanie Wallace
I just didn't love this book. There were too many point of views, and it was super slow. From the description, I thought there was going to be a bit of a mystery, but the answer was revealed early in the book. I was hoping it was going to be a quick read for me, but it took me quite some time to get through it.
Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia
I was hoping for a fast-paced thriller, and this book was a little slow for me. That said, I thought I had it figured out, and the ending surprised me (though I don't like who ended up being the killer). Overall, this was a solid thriller.
Favorite reads in January: The Last Days of Night, My Not So Perfect Life, The Undesirables, and Bel Canto.